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old wives tale?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by cupcake, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. cupcake


    Nov 13, 2003
    what is the old tale (or superstition) about giving a knife as a gift? anybody heard of this? if so, PLEASE clarify.......respects.
  2. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    The superstition is that you must never give a knife as a gift. You risk cutting the friendship. The tradition is to give, along with the knife, some token amount of money, perhaps a quarter. Then, the receipient gives back the money thus buying the knife from the giver.

    In Oriental cultures, it is very wrong to give a knife as a wedding gift. The superstition is that it may cut the marriage. There is no work-around.

    And, in some cultures, given a knife is a threat or an indication that you intend to kill the person.
  3. u812

    u812 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 15, 2002
    I had heard that not to insult the blade the person recieveing it should buy it from the giver by paying for it with the smallest coin in his pocket.
  4. SamuraiDave


    Apr 6, 2001
    Woah, I have recieved knives for my birthday and Christmas for years. Never heard this before!:eek:
  5. Daniel Moore

    Daniel Moore

    Jul 28, 2003
    *Hands his SAK's, Wave, and Gerber to his dad, hands his dad a quarter, and re-recieves the knife*

    Phew! I'm clear!
  6. Dijos


    Nov 20, 2001
    Also, if you were handed a knife, you were expected to kill yourself-obviously, if given to you by the king or something.
  7. WadeF


    Apr 12, 2000
    This is a neat custom, but I know my grandfather gave out a lot of little pocket knives as gifts to friends and I'm not sure if he followed this custom. :)
  8. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    Here is some old folk lore regarding knives.

    -A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.

    -A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain of labor.

    -If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.

    -It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.

    -It is bad luck to close a pocketknife unless you were the one who opened it.

    -Unless they are immediately straightened, crossed knives on a countertop or table indicate that an argument will ensue.

    -A steel knife was regarded as being protection against fairies and curses.

    -A house could be protected by a knife being thrust into the door.

    -A baby protected by a knife stuck into the headboard of its cradle (certainly not a recommended practice now!).

    -A knife could also be thrust into the mast of a boat for luck, although the word 'knife' was never spoken at sea.

    -A knife falling to the ground means the arrival of a male visitor.

    -A knife with a white handle could be used to divine whether the enquirer's future spouse would be fair or dark. The knife was spun round, and if it came to rest with the handle pointing towards the enquirer, the spouse would be fair; if the blade pointed at them, the spouse would be dark.
  9. KennyC


    Nov 7, 2002
    so i guess none of us will ever be attacked by a fairy or a curse eh?:)
  10. Ebbtide


    Aug 20, 1999
    I wonder if there are a bunch of guys re-thinking their TNT's
  11. Milu


    Oct 11, 2003
    The always taking a coin for a knife (or anything that cuts) as a gift is the only superstition I practice.

    Recently my lawyer expanded on it, saying that in her family the superstition applied not only to sharp edges that cut but also points, consequently the same would apply, for example to a brooch.
  12. yog


    Mar 30, 2001
    Oops :(
    I've had a couple knives arrive from trades with guys in the States that came with coins on them. Never knew what it meant, although I did enquire once and got the answer "Oh, it's just a custom".

    I'll know to send the coin back in future ;)
    Then again I quite often sent back a badge of the Flag of St. Piran (Cornish Flag) anyway, so I suspose you could say it was bartering :)
  13. Dr. Nick

    Dr. Nick

    Apr 20, 2001
    Although this doesn't pertain to knives, it is in line with this thread. It's a Chinese custom that you should not give clocks to people without collecting some token in return (coin or some sort of money) otherwise you are giving them 'death'. This stems from the similarity of the Chinese words for 'clock' and 'death'.

  14. sevenedges

    sevenedges Banned BANNED

    Sep 14, 1999
    Well Keith, you might be on to something. I gave a Benchmade auto to a girlfriend and It went south pretty soon after that. She used to keep it under the matress. The last time I was over there I took the liberty of placing it back into my pocket.:D
  15. Daniel Moore

    Daniel Moore

    Jul 28, 2003
    SevenEdges: I can't wait til you see this in the paper:


    11/17/2003: Local Jane Doe was attacked last night in her home on 123 Fake Street by a man whose identity is not known at this point. Says Ms. Doe "I could have protected myself, but I couldn't find that knife I placed under the matress..."

  16. Tzvi


    Oct 18, 2003
    Its all a load of Hogwash. I've given lots of freinds, family knives and even swords over the years. Nothing taken in return.

    Not one friendship has been broken, my relationship with my gal, family, friends is tops.:) (thank God)

    Now if you dont want to walk under ladders, or carry rabbits feet for "luck" then this "coustom" Superstition is for YOU.
  17. AlphalphaPB


    Apr 29, 2002
    I think it's more like "clock" and "ending", not necessarily "death". I've never heard of the coin thing in connection with Chinese clock superstition, but maybe that's just my experience. Nobody would ever think about giving a clock as a gift in the first place, because it's just bad juju.
  18. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    Cool your jets, big T.

    Nobody said any of this was true. But it is the custom in some places. And it's important to understand these cultural customs.

    Here in the US, if you meet someone, it's customary to shake hands. To refuse to do so is insulting. Someone coming here from another country may not know that and may cause offense unknowingly and unintentionally. There's nothing magic about shaking hands, it's just a custom.

    Similarly, if you're invited to the wedding of some American friends, you might bring a nice set of steak knives as a wedding gift. But if your friends are Japanese, that may not be the best of gifts. It's not that you intend to hurt their marriage. It's not that the knives will in some mysterious way do that. It's just a custom.

    So, now if someone gives you a knive and a quarter, you'll know what to do.
  19. Daniel Moore

    Daniel Moore

    Jul 28, 2003
    Exactly, Gollnick. You take the quarter and the knife and run like the wind! :D
  20. kmclye


    Dec 6, 2000
    The similarity is between the sound of the word for "clock" and the sound of the word for "end" (which is the big red word you see on the screen at the end of many Chinese movies). However in the context of the gift giving, that word for "end" is interpreted as "death" anyway, just as it can be in many contexts in English. So in fact you are both right. My experience is also that the coin exchange doesn't happen with clocks because people just wouldn't think of giving clocks at all.

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